7 Ways to avoid prematurely aging your car
Aging fast is never on anyone’s schedule. Everyone wants their vehicle to stay new, their kids to stop growing, and their sandwiches to stay fresh. Ok, maybe your kids can grow up a little bit, but who doesn’t want their vehicle to remain in mint condition as long as possible? Your vehicle is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your life and by following these seven tips, you can retain the value of that investment longer, decrease your future maintenance costs, and increase your vehicle’s life-span.
Slow and steady
Potholes are as Saskatchewan as bunny-hugs. Being aware of oncoming potholes, breaking early and taking your time to avoid them may add a little time to your morning commute but could save you a wheel alignment, suspension repairs, and tire replacements. Going too fast and swerving at the last second to avoid potholes puts your vehicle at greater risk for damage as your suspension doesn’t work as well when your tires aren’t straight.
Give your brake a break
Never use one foot for the brake and one foot for the gas as you are wasting gas and abusing your brakes. Also, when you feel the need for speed, remember that besides the obvious legal restrictions on speeding, driving faster means using your brakes more. Wear and tear is inevitable for brakes, but harsh and sudden braking can be dangerous for other drivers while also causing preventable damage to your discs and calipers. Be selective when you want to ‘let er rip’ and allow loads of room in front of you so you can gradually come to a stop rather than slamming on the brakes.
Keep the mods to the minimum
Mechanical and suspension modifications, if done improperly, can harm your car because they’re not designed to operate with these different after-market parts. For example, suspension modifications can increase wear and tear on your CV joints. When doing modifications always make sure you’re confident in the service and the products you’re getting. Visit Jacked Up Performance Automotive today for more information on high quality automotive accessories.
Wash your vehicle
Washing your car does more than make it look sharp. It adds longevity by cleaning away contaminants that cause corrosion. Paint protects your car’s body panels from the elements, but the underside has it rough as it’s continually exposed to water, dirt, and grime that forms rust. Most cars have drainage points to allow rust-causing water to drip out from the chassis, exhaust, suspension, and other hardware under your car – but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to give it a good wash every so often.
Maybe it’s time to retire
If your tires are bald or cracking, it just makes good safety sense to invest in a new set. It is less costly than a blowout and will keep your car’s suspension, brake module and all the good stuff that lays within, in mint condition and aligned properly. Driving with improperly inflated tires also wastes fuel and will wear down your tire tread. Tire checks are quick and easy and should be done at least once a month. Likewise, make sure that there is no uneven wear between tires on the same axle, in order to avoid putting undue stress on your differential.
Hydration is key
The essential functions of your vehicle is made possible by the fluids coursing through it at every moment which makes maintaining fluid levels absolutely imperative.
Obviously your vehicle needs fuel to move but keeping a full tank is easier on your fuel pump and keeps any dirt trapped in the fuel tank from blocking your fuel filter. Keeping your fuel tank full will also help prevent condensation.
It’s important to replace engine oil approximately every six months but you should try to get in the habit of checking the level after every gas stop – or at least once a month. When you are checking the levels on your dip stick, the oil should be homogenous and smooth. If it seems dark and gritty, it’s past time for an oil change.
Transmission fluid keeps your gears moving smoothly and should be monitored as often as possible. Double check the owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule. If your vehicle is making strange noises and/or is having a rough time shifting gears, make sure your engine is turned on and the transmission is in park and check your transmission fluid. You’re not necessarily looking at the quantity of fluid in this case but more the quality. If it is brown or smells burnt, it is time to replace it.
Coolant, otherwise known as antifreeze, keeps your vehicle from overheating and should be checked at least twice a year or before any major road-trips! If the vehicle is recently driven, make sure it has had a chance to cool before checking the coolant levels. Double check the owner’s manual for recommended type of coolant as crossing fluid types can harm the system.
The importance of your brakes are can’t really be overstated, so irregular brake performance should be addressed as soon as possible, and brake fluid is a good place to start. If you’re getting your oil changed, it’s also a great time to get your brake fluid checked as well. It usually needs to be replaced every two years but if you find it is cloudy or gritty it’s due to be replaced.
Typically, power steering fluid is intermittently topped off and not necessarily replaced, although some manufacturers recommend a fluid flush every few years. When this fluid is low, you usually can feel “creaking,” in the steering wheel or hear unusual sounds. The levels should be checked every month and your owner’s manual should be consulted to identify the suggested type of power steering fluid recommended. If you find you are constantly low, take your vehicle to your branded dealer and have their service technicians look for a possible leak.
Protect the Paint
3M™ Paint Protection Film is a clear polyurethane film designed to protect automotive paint and other vulnerable surfaces from stone chips, scratches, bug damage, road tar stains, automotive fluid stains, and punishing outdoor weathering. It does not alter the appearance or texture of the vehicle but adds peace of mind and an extra layer of protection against damaging elements. Should you notice small paint chips, it’s a good idea to cover them with a touch-up pen before the metal starts to rust!
Saskatchewan roads can be punishing to vehicles but bad habits can be even worse. If you adopt these 7 tips, you’ll allow your car to go further and you’ll enjoy a happier drive. Remember, you only have one life to enjoy, so make moment and drive the best possible. When you take good care of both yourself and your vehicle, you’ll have years and wonderful memories ahead.